Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review of Group 2 for WT20 2014 – Part 1, Australia and India

The teams that make up the Group 2 – Australia, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Qualifier A1
  • Australia

The team that ruled world cricket for nearly two decades but slumped with a slew of retirements of its greats is now once again slowly finding its mojo back. Darren Lehmann has instilled the killer instinct in his wards once again. With the Ashes being regained in a manner not many expected and the recent wins over the current number one test team SA have made this Aussie team deadly as it carries with it a momentum that will be hard to stop.

The batting starts with the pocket rocket David Warner and the destructive Aaron Finch and continues all the way down with Shane Watson, Cameron White, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner and Brad Haddin completing what can be called a pretty strong and enviable line up. And if this was not enough Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc can thwack a few themselves! It will be a daunting task for any team to be able to contain that batting line up.

The bowling suffered a blow as Mitchell Johnson is ruled out due to an infection to his toe but it is still pretty decent as there is the other Mitchell 'Starc'. Then there is the evergreen Brad Hogg who still has the guile to baffle the batsmen with his googlies. The young spinner James Muirhead also looks like a man with a potential and can be called upon to fill the spinner’s shoe. And then there is Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell along with James Faulkner who are all handy bowlers in the shortest format of the game.

The Australians have the arsenal to go all the way but they will have to adapt to these conditions pretty quickly after having played most of their recent cricket on the fast and bouncy pitches in their own backyard and in South Africa. Will they be able to claim the one major ICC trophy that is missing in their vast riches?

Team Rating – 8.5/10
  • India

The Indians can’t seem to win a game while playing abroad these days. They have endured some pretty horror tours in the recent times but more eerily the personnel have remained vastly the same. How much longer a rope can be given to players such as Rohit Sharma, or for R Ashwin for that matter? Does Yuvraj still have it in him to make a difference? Has MS Dhoni lost his magical charm? Will the Indian bowlers stand up please? Will Virat Kohli find an ally to save the sinking Indian ship or will he have to battle alone? These are some of the questions that the Indian team grapples with as it dreams of winning the tournament it won in its inaugural edition.

The openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma generally start slowly but they are both capable of picking up the pace once in. Virat Kohli will be the key for India once again and India will hope that he finds someone to support him in each game. There are serious question marks over the form of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina so it remains to be seen if they can blow the horn or not. MS Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane, along with Kohli will be the three men that the Indian batting will rely on to post moderate scores.

Posting moderate scores is one thing but defending them is quite another. Indian bowlers have been hammered and battered into dust on all the recent tours. They have been unable to either pick up wickets or keep the runs down. R Ashwin is looking confused by the day; recently he even resorted to changing his bowling action but without any success. Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja have looked the pick of the bowlers but even they are inconsistent and prone to leaking runs.

At this point the odds are firmly stacked against India. But then Twenty 20 is one format where fortunes can turn faster than a spinning wheel. They will do incredibly well to reach the knock out stage. Once there though, it’s anybody’s game!!

Team Rating – 5/10

Do you think that I have given low ratings to India? What ratings would you give them? And how do you think will the Aussie’s fare this time around? Share your views in the comments section below!!

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